You must be joking?! This is the common response to my suggestion to eat soup during the summer months or as breakfast. Well, if you think about it, over half of the world’s population is accustomed to eating soup, all year round, both during the summer months and for breakfast.
Soup – the ancient sea
Even before the pot was invented, people used to cook soup in pits in the ground into which hot stones were thrown or in the stomachs of animals. The habit of sipping soup has been maintained and developed throughout history among all cultures. Hot soup in a bowl is a tiny model of the ancient sea, the source of the evolutionary chain of life development to this day. The ancient sea provided a watery, warm, and salty environment, in which primitive sea vegetables, such as algae, were first developed. An ideal soup should preferably contain seaweed and some salt, similar to the composition of the ancient sea. A sip of soup at the beginning of the day or at the beginning of the meal evokes the same basic forces and instincts associated with the reproduction, survival and development that characterized life at the beginning of their path billions of years ago.
Soup will make you strong
A soup bowl at the beginning of the day or at the beginning of the meal has a calming and satisfying effect, both physically and emotionally. Besides, an appetizing soup creates a warm, liquid environment in the stomach that will allow better digestion of the rest of the meal. Soup is rich in minerals and helps to strengthen the blood and balance conditions of dryness, especially in the summer when we lose fluids and minerals during the day as a result of sweating. Many people during summer try to cool down by drinking ice cold water, cold juices, soft drinks, or eating fridge cold fruit, ice cream or cold salads. This type of behavior most probably will impair digestion and intestinal absorption, eventually resulting in bacterial or viral diseases characterized by diarrhea, fatigue, weakness and weight loss. Furthermore, when extremely cooling the body with cold food and drinks, after the initial sense of relief fromheat, the body reacts with overheating to maintain its vitality, so the feeling of heat returns with vengeance, and so forth.
On the other hand, the summer soup, which is warm, serves as an isotonic beverage, restoring lost fluids and minerals to the body, maintaining the strength of digestion, concentration and vitality, quenching thirst and soothing the summer heat.
Soup in the summer – characteristics
Tracking soup throughout the year, it is noticeable that winter soup is thicker in texture and richer in protein, fat and salt and it is long cooked to provide the body with warm and nourishing energy. In contrast, summer soup will usually be thin, liquid, composed mainly of algae and vegetables and a little oil and salt, cooking time will be short, between 5-20 minutes only, to provide cool and calming energy.
Algae suitable for summer soup are Wakame and Nuri.
Suitable vegetables are seasonal vegetables: corn, lettuce, chard, spinach, tomato, cucumber, vine leaves, peppers, and coriander. To create a richer and sweeter soup, add pumpkin, squash, cabbage, kohlrabi, zucchini, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, onion and carrots. To prepare a particularly cooling and cleansing soup, you can use green vegetables such as celery, artichokes, broccoli, green beans, green peas, fennel, and other green leaves mentioned above.
The seasoning of summer soup varies according to the preferences and needs of each person. In general, the use of white rice miso (Shiru Miso) suits summer because of the moderate salinity of this miso combined with the natural sweetness of white rice and short fermentation time in the preparation of the miso that creates a light and refreshing effect. For those with a weak and tired digestion, the pungent taste can ignite digestion and initiate sweating, which will eventually cool down the body. Pungent options include chili pepper, black or white pepper, long pepper, turmeric,ginger, green onion, chives, rocket, watercress or spicy sprouts like radish sprouts. The bitter taste also cools the body and leads the heat from the head down and out through the feces and urine, bitter flavors is typical of lettuce, coriander, coriander seeds, rocket, watercress, sage and basil.
Cereal grains suitable for summer soup are cool and light, such as couscous, bulgur, quinoa, barley grits, basmati brown rice, basmati white rice, whole wheat noodles or soba noodles. It is possible, of course, to use additional grains, as needed and recommended for personal needs.
Legumes suitable for summer soup are orange lentils, mung beans, tofu, tempeh and black beans. In order for the beans to be suitable for a short-cooked soup, they should be sprouted before cooking.
Animal protein is not commonly found in summer soups, but occasionally if desired, a richer soup can be prepared with White Sea or pond fish.
How to balance the soup with the meal?
A contrast in qualities between the soup and the meal creates greater satisfaction:
- When the main course includes many vegetables cooked together, serve a single vegetable soup, puree to a creamy texture.
- When the main course consists of a single vegetable, serve a rich and varied vegetable soup.
- When the main course is rich and includes animal protein, legume and grain, serve a thin soup consisting mainly of algae and a little miso.
- When the main course has a certain dominant flavor, such as spicy seasoning, serve a soup with sweet vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins and onions.
- When there is no main course at hand, serve the All in One soup, which includes cereals, vegetables and legumes / animal protein, to make a full, satisfying meal.
A billion Chinese are not wrong
In the morning, the energy of the body and the blood flows into the digestive system and the stomach is ready to absorb the first food after the night’s fast. In Chinese medicine, the stomach is called “the sea of grain and fluid”. The standard breakfast in the east is based on cooked cereal grains such as in soup or porridge with the addition of fresh green leaves, cooked or pickled vegetables, legumes, legumes sprouts or soy products such as tofu or nato, roasted seeds, peanuts or nuts, various noodles, dim sum or fried bread, spicy, salty or sour spices, like freshly squeezed lemon and quite common to encounter a portion of meat, chicken, fish or egg. In fact, countless soups can be prepared according to the individual needs of each person.
In the summer, the easiest way to eat soup is preparing miso soup, usually made of wakame, two kinds of vegetables and a little miso. In addition to vegetables, a pre-cooked grain could be added to the soup, usually rice can be used.
In the West there are two main versions of breakfast: the first is an uncooked and cold meal made up of cornflakes with milk, a granola bar, bread with cheese or jam, coffee and fruit. The second version is more rich and heavy, and is usually based on lots of animal protein and fat, flour products and almost no cooking and no vegetables,an omelet, bread or sweet pastry, cheese, juice or coffee. In both versions, these breakfasts slow down the digestive system for a long time and create a metabolic load on the liver that will eventually lead to disease. Soup, rich as it may be, will fundamentally support the digestive system. Since there are many possibilities for its preparation; it is possible to create a custom made soup for the individuals healing needs.
According to the legends in Japan, miso was given as a gift from the gods, to ensure longevity, quality of life, joy and health of the human race. Hope you are convinced!